This food is LITERALLY killing me! Strozzapreti, which mean“priest stranglers,” is the murderous food I’m questioning here. Read about the dark past of this “sinful” pasta.
Pasta might be one of the most delicious foods on the planet, but be careful if you order strozzapreti.
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The weird looking, twisted handmade pasta shaped like a hangman’s knot was originally created to suffocate an insatiable priest.
You read that right.
Strozzapreti literally means “priest stranglers.” It has a dark sinful past.
These corkscrew-looking penne date back to the 1600s. They were born upon a curse cast by women against gluttonous clergymen in central Italy when the much-feared Papal States ruled across the boot from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian seas.
Its dominion lasted eight centuries and left unexpected traces in local cuisine.
When Italy was united in the 1800s, the Papal State disintegrated into the central regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, Emilia-Romagna and Marche.
Today these are the gourmet realms of strozzapreti where anticlericalism is still strong.
Centuries ago, the all-mighty Catholic Church held not just the spiritual control over the souls of all farmers, peasants and artisans living there, but also reveled in material power.
Everything belonged to the priests and bishops: churches, lands, hamlets, roads, rivers, hills, forests and mountains. And artisan shops and taverns. Non-stop they raised taxes on all goods and services and forced believers to pay for the remission of their sins and to buy a spot in heaven for themselves and their beloved ones.
The church possessed everything, while its subjects had nothing. No wonder people hated the clergy.
These holy men were seen as the “ravenous lords.” Greedy not only for power and wealth but also of good food and wine. It was no mystery that priests loved fine and abundant eating. Each evening, villagers dreaded the moment when prelates traveling to Rome would knock at their door for a lavish meal and a good night’s sleep.
All locals could do was silently curse them. Poor housewives cooking in inns and taverns turned to their pots and rolling pins to undo what they deemed “evil,” believing that pasta could trigger a sort of exorcism and wipe-out the clergy.
Pasta might be one of the most delicious foods on the planet, but be careful if you order strozzapreti. The weird looking, twisted handmade pasta shaped like a hangman’s knot was originally created…